Sunday, July 26, 2009

There's a post I want to write, that I've been saving up for too long now. Too many pieces, and how will they all fit together?

A post about a word that is my weakness. A word that makes and breaks things-- that I am dependent on. I once-- twice? A hundred times?-- told Sam that the reason he and I could never be together is that I didn't believe he'd ever be able to look into my eyes and use that word for me, and whenever, in the past, I've started to wonder how it might feel to be with someone like him, someone who intrigues and seduces me the way that he does, I remember that he'd never be able to say it. I also know that it's for the best, that he not have what it takes to use my weakness against me. As if, at the time, in that moment, he was not my weakness. But I guess I have more than one.

And no, it's not "love". Believe it or not, there's a word that makes me even crazier than "love".

A post about the way Emily's cousin came up to me yesterday, begging my forgiveness that she did not recognize me at first, and used that word, all three perfect syllables of it, twice, with modifiers like "absolutely", and, I don't know, something else. In return, I told her I recognized her, because she was the same as she'd ever been-- stunning. I didn't go into the fact that it wasn't just the physical that made it true-- her manner, her personality. The easy generosity with which she lavished complements upon me-- the complement, it turns out, that is maybe the only one I would ever need to hear. It's easy to see why she's Emily's favorite cousin, why our mutual friend never got over her. It makes me feel somehow more important as a person to have made any kind of impression on her in the two or three times we met previously, as well as through the things that Emily may have told her over the years.

But this isn't a post about Maggie, not really.

It's a post about something I said the other night, having one of those moments where suddenly, I realize, I feel far less self-worth than I'm even aware of. And I wanted to link to a post about one of the last times that happened, and if I find it, eventually, I will put that link here. (Well...I found one post that briefly made mention of it here. In that same search-- I searched for the word "possibility"-- I found this post which I find particularly interesting, too. I'm wondering if the post I was actually looking for-- which had the words I said to Sam, the lack of his appropriate reaction to them, and then Zack's reaction to them, later, and how perfect it was, despite everything we were going through-- was actually an e-mail to someone? If it was, I may post it, later.)
I wanted to express how, it turns out, I still feel broken, defective. Even with all the progress it could be argued I have made. Because of all the progress it could be argued that I never will make.

It's a post about belief, as much as anything else. The belief I held, when I was young, that the first thing that happened when you got to heaven was they sat you down in a room with a big TV and a group of angels, and reviewed a full, decades-spanning video of your life. When I was young, this was the largest source of my Catholic shame-- this belief that I would be trapped in that room, seeing, with perfect remorse, all the times I ever touched myself, all the times I ever swore without immediately adding "I'm sorry, God."-- do you know how long I did that?

"Catholic girls start much too late."

That same belief of the afterlife, while it had been such a source of anxiety, was maybe the hardest thing to lose, when I lost my faith. Suddenly, I inherited the belief that everything that had ever happened to me was, all at once, gone. That, along with the shameful moments, I had lost my turn to see it all again, the friendships, the happiness. The moments of extreme perfection which are like shining islands in the sea of misery that they cause, acting as poor and precious justification to ruin everything you've come to depend on. Suddenly, all that was left of these things were my fleeting memories-- and anything I'd already lost a memory of, well, maybe someone else had one. But if not, if it was something that was just my own, well, was it even real anymore?

This was probably the seed of a rather unpopular idea I expressed in lit class a few weeks ago, that truth may be subjective. I know I'm not the first person to think that, but it's not something that I've really known anyone to agree with.

Belief in other things, too-- or the lack of belief in other things. Seeing my reflection, sometimes, I'm given ample evidence to believe that I am that thing I wish to believe I am. Other times, I see myself and think that it couldn't be farther from the truth. This informs my skepticism-- do beautiful women exist? Or are their simply women who know better than others how to pose, how to dress, how to apply makeup and hide their flaws. Myself? Well, I'm pretty enough from a certain angle, but I don't know quite how to strike it, and even in the company of people who give me ten times more confidence, in the moment, than I usually have-- when I leave, I can't help but wonder how much of the evening I spent with my neck craned in just that certain way that makes me, somehow, more appealing, more worthwhile.

Conversely, it's important to point out that I do believe in ugly women-- they are as real and as tangible as the earth beneath my feet. This isn't some hippy-dippy tribute to equality and the subjective nature of beauty. I believe that some women are truly ugly, but I question the possibility that any women are truly beautiful.

If there was anything to challenge that skepticism, it was the vision that was Emily, yesterday, on her wedding day. In her gown, with her hair just so-- seeing that, and holding my breath, and needing to stare: that must be what a real belief in beauty feels like. She was more beautiful than I'd ever seen her, but, beyond that, somehow more beautiful than anyone had ever been. How ridiculous that she should lack confidence that she would be.

There was a post I was going to write, the day before, about how, despite my changing tastes over the years, despite my changing moods, my changing lifestyles...despite the approval that I give for the hollywood standard of beauty, and the way that makes certain people think I am shallow, despite everything, the first person I ever kissed has never stopped being beautiful to me. Having seen her yesterday, the whole ode I had planned seems to be something of an understatement.

And Emily, with that same generous grace that seems to be a quality of a "Davis Girl" (as Floyd puts it), Emily always tells me I'm beautiful, too.

What would the world be without Davis Girls, huh?

There were other things to write-- about this CD I've listened to easily five times in the past forty hours or so. About whether or not I am converted, about individual lines that stand out. But, in reality, this wasn't a post about the one person who's been driving me to write so often, lately. And it wasn't a post that was asking to be pandered to by him or anybody else. This was a post about Emily being beautiful, Maggie being stunning, and me being weak. This was a post about the subjectiveness of truth, and the impossibility of perfection, and the things I believed when I was young. This was a post about the things that I don't believe now.

On with it.